To the Editor:
The online responses to Gwyn McAllister’s review of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School production of “Chess” were not just entertaining to read but, in fact, enlightening. We, the Performing Arts Department, must be doing our job, and doing it well.
Why else would we evoke such incredible dialogue between students and community members, and such an interesting review?
“Chess” was chosen precisely for the reasons and reactions that are swirling around in print, in the classroom, around kitchen tables, and on the lips of those who just have the need to add a little drama (pun intended) to their daily lives.
Reviews are just that. An opinion, a critique, and a perception. And we all face them on a daily basis in our lives, whether on stage, in our work place or in our insular community. It is an excellent learning experience for us to face criticisms in our daily lives, and prepares our students for the real world of what life will be beyond the four walls of high school.
Of course we do not anticipate, or wish for anything other than a fabulous review, but there is something to be learned by the experience. Live theatre is just that — live. Things happen that are sometimes beyond our immediate control. Take into account that what happens in one rehearsal or performance may not happen in another.
What intrigues me most as an educator is the amazing gift of our students and their understanding of the experience when faced with the comments made by adults who missed the point.
We are a program that excels in producing well-versed and exceptionally prepared college students. Our students win awards and recognition, and are complimented by off-Island groups for their professionalism and courtesy. And after reading their online comments, I now received another gift. They are listening. And they understand the choices we make, and how they are benefitted by challenging material.
So to the critics, whose point of view is valued and appreciated, I ask of you this — think about what our students are teaching you about their learning. Entertainment lasts a moment, knowledge a lifetime.Thank you.
Educator and Director
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School